Exercise is great for your body, mind and spirit. But it also comes with some inherent risks. Whenever you push your body to perform, there’s a chance you could end up injured.

Injuries can be acute, such as scrapes, strains, muscle pulls or tears, or joint dislocations. They can also be chronic, such as overuse injuries from improper movement patterns.

Being aware of potential risks, staying mindful of your own capabilities and educating yourself on proper movement patterns is a good foundation for preventing injury. Here are a few additional tips to help lower your injury risk:

  1. Develop a strong foundation. Think of fitness like a pyramid – you need a solid foundation to be successful. This means developing strong core muscles, improving joint stability, and increasing stability and mobility. Participating in Bellin Fitness functional movement classes or working with a personal trainer are good ways to build your fitness foundation and address any poor movement patterns.
  2. Avoid doing too much, too soon. Consider your current fitness routine and work on slowly building up to more. For example, if you rarely exercise, attempting an adventure race is a huge jump in activity level and significantly increases your risk for injury. A better approach is to gradually increase the amount you exercise and slowly increase the intensity.
  3. Ask for help. If you are unsure how to improve your fitness, hiring a personal trainer is a great next step. Bellin Fitness personal trainers can work with you to identify improper movement patterns and offer corrective exercises to get your body moving properly. A personal trainer can also provide options to help you achieve the next fitness level. Talk to your trainer to develop a plan that will best fit your needs.
  4. Be mindful. Ignoring pain, tenderness or tightness puts you at higher risk for injury. Instead, schedule a pain and injury consultation with a Bellin Fitness licensed athletic trainer. These 30-minute consultations are free for members and can help identify the steps you need to take to prevent things from getting worse.
  5. Stay focused. Injuries often happen due to distraction or not staying mindful through the duration of a movement. A quick turn of the head on a treadmill can easily lead to a fall. Lowering a kettle bell improperly can wreak havoc on your back or shoulder. Regardless of the movement, stay engaged and mindful until the weight is properly released or the machine is turned off.

Awareness, mindfulness and patience will help you prevent exercise injury. If you have questions or need help establishing an exercise routine, reach out to a Bellin Fitness personal trainer or licensed athletic trainer.